Students working on an experiment

What is Mi-STAR?

Mi-STAR is an integrated science middle school curriculum and teacher professional learning program empowering teachers to improve students’ science learning. The curriculum is designed for the Next Generation Science Standards and housed within the Great Lakes Research Center at Michigan Tech. The Mi-STAR curriculum stimulates students’ engagement through real-world unit challenges that demonstrate how science and engineering contribute innovative solutions to contemporary problems. Teachers are supported with three-dimensional assessments and a virtual professional learning program.  

Why Mi-STAR?

Real-World Curriculum - Mi-STAR’s middle school science curriculum is available online to Michigan teachers by subscription and nationally through Kendall Hunt Publishing. Student and teacher workbooks are also available for purchase

Teachers love Mi-STAR unit challenges. The real-world anchor is an essential component of instruction, promoting student relevancy, interest, and STEM identity and allowing students to develop critical thinking skills alongside content knowledge. From the beginning, teachers were central in the development of the curriculum, working with scientists, engineers, and curriculum specialists.  

Free lessons designed for NGSS using the Mi-STAR model are available for any educator. Mi-STAR also collaborates with researchers and community partners to develop middle school lessons or units to custom specifications, published within or outside the curriculum. 

Events for Educators - In addition to the curriculum, Mi-STAR provides professional learning events for any educator around the state of Michigan through the monthly Mi-STAR Learning Series covering topics related to NGSS pedagogy, pacing, scaffolding, extension and differentiation, cultural relevance, and community partnerships. Attendees engage with the material in a collaborative setting. While considering the content of the session they also have the opportunity to make personal connections with other professionals outside their district. Mi-STAR can facilitate customized professional learning for any setting or need.

Online Self-Paced Professional Learning for NGSS - Online courses hosted by Michigan Tech Global Campus are available nationally to K-12 educators with Canvas courses including Introduction to the Next Generation Science Standards, Systems and Systems Models, Productive Talk, and Teacher Leadership. 

Research Collaboration with Mi-STAR

Mi-STAR staff have years of experience in partnering to develop problem-based lessons or units and to provide professional learning for teachers.  You can work with experienced Mi-STAR staff to develop a custom lesson, unit, or professional learning event to support your project or proposal. Share your interest with us–we’ll find a time to connect and talk about your ideas.

Mi-STAR has been enthusiastic in supporting teachers with curriculum materials and PL that helps them to integrate other complementary educational frameworks into the curriculum– from literacy, to modeling, to place-based stewardship learning.  Work with us to develop materials to go out through our curriculum portal to our more than 750 teachers– or we can develop lessons or units for you to distribute through your own channels.

Mi-STAR Collaboration Interest Form

Mi-STAR partners have included Modeling in Michigan, Reading Apprenticeship, Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, and Partridge Creek Farm. Because Mi-STAR units are centered around real-world challenges, they often lend themselves to place-based student/community partnerships.

Mi-STAR was founded in 2015 through generous support provided by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. Mi-STAR has also received substantial support from the National Science Foundation, the MiSTEM Advisory Council through the Michigan Department of Education, and Michigan Technological University.

Mi-STAR Curriculum